A source inside the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) has provided details about the orchestra’s new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that reinforce the observation that not all orchestras are suffering in the current economy. The NSO musicians conducted a ratification meeting the morning of 9/3/12, the same day the agreement was set to expire and although the results have not yet been announced, the negotiating committee recommending that members ratify the terms for the new four year agreement. Highlights from the proposed terms include:
- 2012/13: 0.5 percent increase over the base weekly salary of $2,504.
2013/14: two percent increase.
2014/15: two percent increase.
2015/16: 2.35 percent increase (special terms for this year wherein some of the increase may be converted to an employer contribution to a 403(b) or similar retirement plan).
- Minor adjustments to health and dental contribution levels per premium increases.
- New caps to employer provided instrument insurance.
- Modest increases in tour per diem rates.
- Maximum concert length during tours increased from 135 minutes (2.25 hours) to 150 minutes (2.5 hours).
- Separate tour provisions now possible via side letter negotiated by the orchestra committee and ratified by rank and file vote.
- New audition provisions that provide increased musician input in final audition round in exchange for ability of music director to advance up to two candidates to final round for titled or solo position.
- Modest changes to work rules via scheduling weekend and evening service.
Overall, changes to work rule and non-compensation terms are modest in nature while the improvements to base compensation are self evident. Likewise, the terms help the NSO maintain its growing status as a major destination ensemble alongside the ranks of Chicago, Boston, New York, San Francisco, and LA.
We’ll examine these terms at a later date once the organization releases additional information.